Earlier online courses were thought to be the bottom of the educational barrel but with bulky loads like MIT, Harvard and Stanford jumping on the bandwagon, online education has gone mainstream. Recently ten highly selective USA Universities have joined in an online course association that will allow students to enroll in for credit courses at any of the joining campuses. A new online course consortium from 2U and top-tier universities is making undergraduate education easier.
In a partnership with 10 universities 2U known as 2tor has announced plans to launch Semester Online, an online courses for undergraduates. Enrollment will be starting in fall 2013.
The Universities which are participating in the consortium are listed below:
- Brandeis University
- Duke University
- Emory University
- Northwestern University
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Rochester
- Vanderbilt University
- Wake Forest University
- Washington University in St. Louis
The new bonding will permit students from the ten participating universities to register in and receive credit in a wide range of online course offerings. Students who are pursuing their studies from colleges or universities outside the above universities can also apply to enroll for the courses.
Courses will be offered on a full semester basis and will utilize software from 2U an education technology group which has won high marks from both the education and financial communities.
This is the first venture of 2U’s into online undergraduate platforms. The company’s prior online learning platforms were limited to graduate programs developed in concert with individual universities such as the online master’s degree in public health offered by George Washington University.
Offering for-credit, online courses could vastly expand study abroad possibilities for many undergraduates. Traditionally, students pursuing degrees in disciplines with highly structured curriculums – especially the sciences and mathematics – have been discouraged from participating in study abroad programs. Making required courses available online and for credit suddenly changes the playing field.
The web-based program will offer students the same faculty and curricula as its brick-and-mortar counterparts. Courses will include live interactive classes and opportunities for students to interact via social networking tools. The courses will be big with 200 to 300 students but will be broken into 15 to 20 student sections led by section heads. Specific courses and the application process will be announced in early 2013.
The online courses will offer flexibility to students and they can travel, work, conduct research or manage personal commitments as they see fit.
The company is leading the way in online education offering web-based programs that allow professors and students to interact on-the-go. In fact, 2U recently announced the launch of mobile apps to bring graduate education to students using mobile technology.
The scale of this is something new. We have heard cases where a single institution offers an online course but this is the first time that multiple courses and institutions are cooperating towards a partnership. It will certainly prove to be a landmark for undergraduate online education